Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed Congresswoman Julia Brownley’s (D-CA) bill to ensure that veterans with service-connected disabilities – regardless of age – can prepare for, find, and maintain meaningful careers.

Brownley is co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus’s Reinvesting in Our Returning Heroes Task Force, and she introduced the Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act as part of the Task Force’s veterans jobs agenda. Her bill would lift the arbitrary 12-year time limit on when veterans with service-connected disabilities can participate in the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program. VR&E helps veterans obtain employment through job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and skills coaching. In FY 2017, 90 percent of veterans who achieved rehabilitation from an employment plan were employed in the prior year. Veterans who successfully completed the program also earned $18,000 more in individual income than those who did not complete the program.

“We need to address veteran unemployment for all of our returning heroes — especially those who come home with the wounds of war – by giving them access to the resources they need to succeed in the 21st Century economy,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “Sixty percent of veterans who are unemployed are over the age of 45, and the arbitrary 12-year limit means older veterans with disabilities are not eligible to receive the resources they may need to succeed in the job market. Older veterans have outstanding experience and technical skills, and we need to do more to help these veterans succeed in the labor market. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to move this important legislation forward.”

Brownley’s legislation is supported by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Her bill was incorporated into the Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William `Bill’ Mulder Transition Improvement Act, which passed the Committee today.

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